Christmas Markets came late to the UK. It’s not that the UK didn’t celebrate Christmas. Since Victoria’s Albert brought the Christmas tree to England the Brits have done it up in grand style. Before Christmas markets, in the European fashion, … Continue reading Brexit Or Not, London Gets European Christmas Markets
Christmas Markets started in Central Europe, Austria and Southern Germany, and have moved up and down the Danube and spread out from that waterway across the continent. London has always had great Christmas decorations and shopping, but the European style … Continue reading Covent Garden, London, 2014
When the St. Pancras railway station opened in 1868 its wrought iron and glass train shed, designed by Henry Barlow, was the largest single structure roof in the world. It was 689 feet long, 240 feet wide and 100 feet … Continue reading St. Pancras International Railway Station
I woke up at the St. Pancras Hotel in London this morning at 5 AM with a great sense of quiet and thankfulness. Normally when I wake up early it is because of some imagined fear or excitement for the day ahead. This was different, a sense of calmness kept me awake. It had been a difficult week at the funeral of a dear friend. We had a layover in London on the way home and opted to go into town rather than stay at the airport. Last night we visited with a friend, strolled through Covent Garden, already festooned … Continue reading Thoughts on the way home.
Douglas is the capital. We stayed in a guesthouse right on the water and saw some wonderful sunrises and watched the ferry come and go from the UK. Continue reading Douglas, Isle of Man
Peel is on the West Coast of the Isle of Man. It is the cathedral town, it has the Manannan MacLir’s museum, as well as Peel Castle and St. Patrick’s Island. The island has working boats. It also has some interesting Celtic-Viking stones and crosses with both religious and pagan symbols. Continue reading Peel, Isle of Man
Castletown was the original capital of the Isle of Man. It is on the Manx Steam Railway. The Rushen Castle is still administrative center. The small whitewashed building is from around 1200. It was first a church than the first school in town, now it is preserved as a historical monument. Continue reading Castletown, Isle of Man
Port Erin is one of the loveliest towns I have seen, aside, of course, for Sitka. Unfortunately there are not many working commercial fishing boats there now. It is the southern terminus of the Manx Steam Railway. It is the home of the Manx Railway Museum. Continue reading Port Erin, Isle of Man
Here are pictures taken from the Manx Steam Railway. I love the puffs of steam and smoke that look like miniature and very low cumulus clouds. Continue reading Views from the Manx Steam Railway
These are pictures from the Manx Steam Railway. The Next post will be pictures taken from the trains. Continue reading Manx Steam Railway
This is the first post from the Isle of Man. It has several shots from around the island, including the route of the TT motorcycle race. Other posts will deal with the Manx Steam Railroad, Douglas, Peel, Castletown and Port Erin. There‘s a sign when you leave the arrivals area of the Isle of Man Airport that reads “Travelers who are not citizens of the EU or the EEA and are arriving from the Republic of Ireland are required to register with the Isle of Man immigration and passport office.” It gives an address in Douglas, the … Continue reading Isle of Man
St. Patrick’s Day Dublin, Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In a way it reminds me of the May Day Parade in Minneapolis presented by the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater. Continue reading A Colorful and Happy St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin
“In 1014 Brian Boru defeated the Danes at Clontarf near Dublin.” That is what my Grandfather learned in school and it is what he taught me. This year the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin looked back into history as … Continue reading St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Battle of Clontarf, or Here Come the Vikings!
The hats were the same ones I saw at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York 9 years ago but instead of obnoxiously drunk teenagers these were mostly well mannered young people enjoying the Sunday of Dublin’s St. Patrick’s … Continue reading Faces of St. Patrick (Reflections on my Grandfather.)
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. My Irish grandfather always told me it was no use going to Ireland on St. Pat’s. All the good bands were in New York, Boston or Chicago. The Dubliners had their own annual gig in … Continue reading Dublin Goes Green (It’s the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.)
Tallinn’s tourism agency touts the “best-preserved medieval center in all of Europe.” It’s not completely medieval, and that makes it interesting. Architecture in the old town runs from medieval through baroque and Russian empire style (the Tsar built a very “Alexander Nevsky” cathedral and an opera house in the old town) to Art Nouveau. The mix is what makes the Tallinn old town interesting. Tallinn was founded by Danes (In Estonian, Tallinn means “Danish Town. “) German knights bought Tallinn from them and pretty soon Tallinn (Germans called it “Reval”) was in the Hanseatic League, acting as middleman between the … Continue reading Tallinn
We arrived in Riga Monday night and walked through a snowy city. By Tuesday it had warmed up, morning fog hid the steeple tops and we walked through slush. The embassy district of Riga has one of the best collections of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe, built for the German merchants who ran the economic life of Riga around 1900. Michael Eisenstein, father of the Soviet filmmaker, was the architect of many of them. In Riga it’s easy to see Art Nouveau as the bridge between the empire style and art deco. The district centers around Alberta St. The district … Continue reading Riga Nouveau
The depth of snow varied on our drive from Vilnius to Riga. In some places it was just a dusting, a bit of white on top of still green fields. In Northern Lithuania we saw a farmer with a horse … Continue reading Halloween in Riga, Latvia, 2003
In Tallinn, there are architectural rings. Right outside the old town is the “new town” a mix of modern steel and glass and Stalinist “wedding cake” architecture. Beyond that are working class Tallinn neighborhoods that consist of almost all old wooden buildings, single family dwellings, shops, workshops, and wooden apartment houses. Many have carpenter Gothic touches and are painted in different colors. The most famous of these neighborhoods is Kalamaja. I hope that at least some of these neighborhoods can be “protected,” as the old town from the modern “new town” encroachments. More than the German styled Hanseatic League old … Continue reading Wooden Tallinn, Estonia.
May 11, 2010 Dear Friends, On Friday afternoons I would go to my grandparents’ flat in Jersey City while my parents had their night out. Grandpa Brew would tell me stories. He was raised in Ireland, ran away to sea … Continue reading Iron and Glass, Flowers and Trains
May 7. 2013 Dear Friends. The signs looked familiar, “Welcome to Jersey”, “Grand Jersey”. “Jersey Shores,” even some of the names clicked with recognition, Carteret for instance. But this Jersey is the real thing and an anomaly, as is nearby … Continue reading Jersey
The narrative for this post is posted under Jersey. Continue reading Guernsey
The first time I was in London my grandfather and I stayed at the YMCA. We have stayed at the “Y” with our kids and Suzi and I have, in the past, stayed in the BBC Hostel, but this time … Continue reading London 2013, St. Pancras
In the summer of 1993 Suzi and I took my mother to Ireland to celebrate her 80th birthday. Her father was born, raised, and ran away to sea from Greencastle in Donegal; at the mouth of Lough Foyle, the choke point leading to the port of Londonderry. Her actual birthday was in September and on her birthday I sent her a letter recounting some of the stories we heard in Ireland. Many of the stories are the ones I grew up with, but we heard them from a different perspective and told a century after they happened. My grandfather … Continue reading Greencastle, Ireland (the old home place.)